It has been quiet as of late. Covid-19 has caused many of us to take new perspectives on life, and those of us in Hong Kong – as well as members overseas – are adapting to and even delighting in the change of pace and time afforded with family.
Zoom is the new place to hang out online and has proved popular as well as effective. Face to face contact is fuel to the soul after all. It has proved invaluable for the WiPS committee.
And now it appears that Hong Kong may well be over the worst of its fears and preparing for the new post-Covid lifestyle.
Having no choice but to postpone the Imprint launch, the committee plans to hold an alternative celebration in the months ahead. We cannot compromise members’ safety, so we are in no rush to confirm a date. While we would like to have the gathering before the summer break, September seems more realistic. The FCC is holding our booking until the end of that month. In the meantime, we are printing the anthology.
Why should Covid-19 spoil all we’d planned? Lewis Caroll was no futurist, but as a dreamer, he would have agreed:
The moon was shining sulkily, Because she thought the sun Had got no business to be there After the day was done — “It’s very rude of him,” she said, “To come and spoil the fun.”
And on this optimistic note, let us introduce you to our modest line-up of upcoming social events.
Imprint 19 Imprint 19 is with the printer. We will mail out one copy to all members, both locally and abroad, by early June. Copies will have to be sent by surface mail to those of you overseas, so please be patient. Normal air mail services have yet to resume. We received a bumper crop of submissions from more than 50 members this year – and what a high standard they were! We are sure Imprint 19 will impress!
If you would like to obtain additional copies, please contact Polly on firstname.lastname@example.org. We will ensure certain local bookstores carry stock. Bulk orders can be paid for and collected from designated committee members who have agreed to house supplies.
Informal Get-togethers Our bi-monthly social gathering will resume on Tuesday, 2 June. This time we will meet at Colette’s, Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central. There’s a bar, including a balcony and tables indoors where you can have a light dinner or just snacks and drinks. The club is air-conditioned, a welcome retreat now that the humidity has returned. Under current restrictions, no more than eight members are permitted for any social gathering, so please email me at email@example.com if you plan to attend. Apologies in advance to drop-ins who may have to be turned away unless we have fewer than eight attendees.
Critique Group Our group of eight critiquing members, co-ordinated by Jennifer Walker Frisinger, will resume their meetings on Tuesday, 9 June at Colette’s. This 2-hour session will meet from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Dinner and snacks are available. If you wish to join, please email Jennifer through her Members’ Directory listing. Four pieces are submitted each month, and we review each submission and share comments. We would love you to join us. Our first session was a big success.
Members’ Directory If Covid-19 has forced any change in your contact details or biography, please make the corrections by logging in to your WiPS directory at the WiPS website (www.hkwips.com).
Members’ Showcase Our Showcase of members’ published work, reached under the MEMBERS tab on the home page of our website, is there for your use. Please forward a picture of any one publication you would like to display along with a review or blurb of no more than 100 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woman at Work If you would like to be featured in this section on our facebook page/website (not more than 300 words), please contact us on email@example.com.
Our Facebook page We are most appreciative of Kay Ross’ posts, which continue to give momentum to our Social Media presence. Please “like” as many posts as possible since the more we have, the more we grow. Also, if you should have any material which you feel is suitable for posting, please email this to Polly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
So dear friends, please keep safe and savvy as you return to almost normal routines here in Hong Kong. May Imprint 19 open you up to worlds beyond your own which others in our society have breathed or imagined. Allow the Muses to sweep you off your feet!
And on behalf of our committee, Thank You all for your loyalty and your generosity of spirit.
THE PROVERSE PRIZE (for unpublished book-length works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry on any topic, submitted in English) is open till 30 June 2020. For new, emerging and experienced writers. Prize: HK$10,000 and publication by Proverse Hong Kong. Supplementary Prizes (publication) may be awarded. Translations into English welcome. All those 18 years old and above are welcome to enter, irrespective of residence, nationality or citizenship.
THE PROVERSE POETRY PRIZE (for single poems of up to 30 lines, previously unpublished in English, submitted in English) is open till 30 June 2020. For new, emerging and experienced writers. Topic: “Hunger” OR any topic chosen by each entrant. 1st prize: US$100.00; 2nd prize: US$45.00; up to four 3rd prizes; US$20.00 each. Entry fee: HK$100.00 per poem. Translations into English welcome. All those 18 years old and above are welcome to enter, irrespective of residence, nationality or citizenship. Selected entries may be published in an International anthology.
Panellists Clare Stearns, Sarah Brennan and Lindsay Varty provide insights into how they navigated around obstacles on the road to success
By Heather Diamond
This enjoyable and entertaining event, held at the FCC on 20 February 2020, showed that although our three panelists work in very different genres, their experiences have been similar. Clare Stearns runs a theatre company and writes plays based on the hidden histories of women. Her upcoming play, Mussolini’s Mistresses, opens in Hong Kong in early March. Sarah Brennan is the author and publisher of 16 children’s books with the best-selling Chinese Calendar Tales as well as other popular books. She is now writing children’s books about Chinese history. Lindsay Varty is a former professional rugby player and a writer whose recently published coffee table book, Sunset Survivors, is filled with photographs and interviews of Hong Kong’s vanishing traditional tradespeople.
In answer to questions posed by moderators Suzanne Andrews and Leslie Hobbs, all said they started with more inspiration than information, but they gathered momentum, wisdom and expertise by reaching out to others and building a network of professional connections. They all admitted they had made mistakes along the way, unrealistic expectations and deadlines being among the most common.
Lindsay, the youngest member of the panel, talked about the challenges of family expectations and self-doubt. Sarah discussed overcoming the stigma of self-publication and the need for accuracy, even in children’s books. She stressed that critical scrutiny is unavoidable if you are an outsider writing about someone else’s culture and history. Clare emphasized the need to get past awe of the literary canon and create room for yourself. They agreed that writers have to learn to stop self-censoring and benefit from learning to listen to feedback.
Writers and aspiring writers who attended went away rewarded, feeling less alone with the challenges of creative work and a lot more inspired to persevere in the process.
We thank all members who supported this event, despite the coronavirus, to provide a great turnout, and the FCC for looking after us so well with delicious individual small eats and a good bar.
I’m just popping in before we officially celebrate The Year of the Rat to give you an update on that which has past and is to come!
Monthly Informal Get-together
Held at Club 71, Hollywood Road, this monthly gathering is attracting a good number of members in a very cosy grove-like setting. Our next drinks are on Tuesday, 4 February. This time, those of you who may be interested in starting up a critique group in a reciprocal read-and-write arrangement are also encouraged to attend for an initial discussion. Don’t feel you have to join, just come and have a chat regardless.
Our second official WiPS event ‘Are you Stuck?’ will take place on Thursday, 20 February in the Hughes Room, FCC. We will advertise this shortly on Facebook and our website. Since we have just the five events up to November this year, please make an effort to bring a friend and attend as your patronage at four of the five events will ensure we stay buoyant as a society.
‘Are you Stuck? – Mistakes I Made; Lessons I Learned’ Come and be inspired by our three savvy, successful panellists who survived the challenges of the writing, publishing and marketing processes. Sarah Brennan – author and publisher of 16 children’s books, including the best-selling Chinese Calendar Tales; Suzanne Harrison – journalist and editor who recently signed a publishing contract with UK’s Legend Press for her work of fiction, ‘The Colour of Thunder’, a contemporary thriller set in Hong Kong; and Clare Stearns – playwright and professional theatre director speaking about several original plays re-interpreting the lives of famous writers from the female perspective.
The annual Imprint Launch is on Friday, 24 April in the Hughes Room, FCC. A splendid affair always, we look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. And for those who intend to advertise in Imprint, please be advised that the date for final submission of advertisements has now been extended to 7 February with artwork to be provided by 20 February. If you know of a potential advertiser, please email Polly at email@example.com.
At our recent committee meeting, we decided to offer members a new feature on our website to support their work. I will update you with details as we progress on this, but essentially it means that you will be able to showcase your published material along simple set guidelines.
Social Media Co-ordinator
Jo Farrell has resigned from the WiPS committee and from her role as Social Media Co-ordinator to concentrate on her professional photography business. We are most appreciative of all the time and effort she has given to develop our Social Media and also for initiating the monthly Informal Get-together. We wish her the very best for her future endeavours.
A new Social Media Co-ordinator has recently taken up this role and we look forward to introducing you to Tiffani Ren at our Imprint launch. You can expect to see posts on Facebook shortly.
A gentle reminder to those who have yet to renew their membership for 2020, please do so soon!
To our members both in Hong Kong and abroad, enjoy a splendid Chinese New Year holiday or offshore celebration! May this ratty year of the vital and intelligent rat, match the intelligence and vitality of all you illustrious, industrious women!